Enhancing legal efficiency with CaseMark

A success story from PECK-LAW, Employment & Civil Rights

 min. read
June 16, 2024
Enhancing legal efficiency with CaseMark

PECK-LAW, Employment & Civil Rights, led by Lisa Peck, recently won a $20MM jury verdict as co-lead trial counsel in a high-profile employment law case in Alameda County Superior Court, California.

This blog post delves into how CaseMark became an indispensable resource for the firm in the weeks leading up to the jury’s verdict. Peck and her team were able to consume mountains of transcripts preparing for trial through the use of deposition summaries to keep the team aligned and  increase efficiency through daily trial summaries.

The story of PECK-LAW, Employment & Civil Rights

PECK-LAW’s practice area is devoted solely to plaintiff-side employment and civil rights law — nothing else. Lisa Peck was named a National Law Journal’s Elite Trial Lawyer of 2018 finalist for Gender Discrimination, and she is known for her and her firm’s commitment to “exclusively representing people – at work and in life.”

The challenge

Lisa Peck was brought in as co-lead trial counsel less than a month before trial began, and the clock was ticking…  Lisa and her team faced a monumental task: quickly getting up to speed and preparing for trial in what turned out to be a $20 million jury verdict in favor of an African-American woman against her employer, Stanford Health Care, for race discrimination, race harassment, and retaliation and against both Stanford Health Care and Stanford University for defamation.

Given only three to four weeks before the trial, Lisa and her team (including PECK-LAW’s Senior Counsel Mythily Sivarajah) inherited a daunting pile of depositions—30 in total, many spanning multiple days and volumes. “There was not enough time to read all of those depositions cover to cover, which is my normal process,“ Lisa recalls. “Instead, the summaries, the page and line narrative, were just critical. They allowed us to issue and spot-check, and then go through each deposition quickly without reading every single deposition in full.

Why PECK-LAW chose CaseMark

During the intense preparation period, Lisa’s team discovered CaseMark, thanks to a Google search conducted by Kevin Schwin, Of Counsel to PECK-LAW, and a critical member of the team. Intrigued by the free trial offer, Kevin decided to test the platform for the team. “When we got our first summary back, we were like, ‘Whoa, this is really good,’“ Lisa noted. The initial success with the tool led them to adopt it more extensively during the free trial period, integrating it into their daily workflow for all of their trial-bound cases.

Removing content filter roadblocks

Since this trial was dealing with sensitive topics around racially offensive terms, derogatory speech, and racial harassment, we noticed early on that some of the summaries Lisa and her team tried to run were failing. We quickly identified the problem that the built-in content filters in the LLMs we were using were erroring out and not letting us complete the summaries. Thankfully, we had just implemented our LLM Routing Engine and were able to enable our content-filter failover just in time to make sure we could deliver all the summaries we needed to in a timely fashion.

Results: daily summaries and beyond

One of the standout features of CaseMark for Lisa was its ability to handle daily transcripts before, during, and after the trial. The firm would upload uncertified rough transcripts from the court reporter into CaseMark, which quickly generated summaries that provided a clear overview of the day’s proceedings.

“It was an eight-week trial. I used it to review prior testimony in preparing for witnesses scheduled in the days ahead, and also to remind myself of the judge’s daily rulings and counsel’s arguments. It was really good for overall context,“ Lisa explains. This functionality proved invaluable, especially when preparing for subsequent days in court. “I used it to remind myself of prior testimony, including areas for impeachment in my daily preparation for upcoming witnesses. It allowed me to highlight topics and have a guide next to my examination outline,” Lisa adds.

Even in the post-trial phase, CaseMark’s summaries were useful. The defendants filed their post-trial motions for new trial and to set aside the jury’s verdict. CaseMark’s summaries helped Lisa review the post-trial briefing in context. Even though the trial court has since ruled to reduce the jury’s verdict to $10 million, it did not alter the jury’s decision about the remaining damages, including punitive damages against the defendants. Being able to refer to CaseMark’s summaries of the daily testimony helped Lisa assist her team and co-lead trial counsel in their effort to preserve the jury’s decision.

The streamlined approach afforded PECK-LAW by CaseMark saved Lisa critical time at all stages, enabling her and her team to stay on top of the case despite the exhaustive demands of trial preparation.
Peck benefited from CaseMark’s ability to quickly and accurately summarize court documents, but CaseMark also gained from having a partner in PECK-LAW. The use of our summaries for dailies introduced a new use case into our lineup. We also learned that some LLMs are better than others when dealing with hate speech. CaseMark’s LLM routing engine allowed us to route Lisa’s content to an LLM that does not block offensive content.

Lisa Peck’s story offers a reassuring perspective: “This is actually really cool. It solves problems for lawyers, and makes law better for people. It even caught a chronological detail that I needed but had missed. Initially, I thought, ‘Oh no, this isn't right’ - but when I went back and checked the transcript, my ‘oh no” turned into a ‘check that out!’ The page/line detail was right. Lisa describes that moment for her as being a confidence builder in the product.

Lisa’s positive feedback and practical insights have been pivotal in shaping the future developments of CaseMark. The platform is set to introduce even more features, such as trial and hearing transcript summaries and advanced search capabilities within transcripts, making it a robust tool for legal professionals.

Like Lisa, you can take advantage of our free trial offer. Please check us out!